The Social Democrats have voiced strong support for today’s call by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission for a radical overhaul of the legislation governing its operations to make the system of garda complaints and oversight fairer, more transparent and more efficient.
Party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD called on the Minister for Justice to move swiftly to introduce legislation to allow GSOC become a fully independent and properly resourced agency with its own dedicated funding stream.
Deputy Shortall said:
“The changes that GSOC seeks are essential if the public and members of the force are to have confidence that all complaints of Garda misconduct will be treated swiftly, fairly and at the appropriately level.
“The current arrangements, whereby An Garda Síochána investigates many non-criminal complaints internally, clearly does little to inspire public confidence in the independence of the complaints process.
“After ten years in operation, and having handled more than 23,000 public complaints, GSOC is in a very strong position to put forward these radical changes. The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan must waste no time in introducing the reforms that seek to make sure that complaints are handled with fairness, openness, efficiency and independence.
“Recent Garda controversies have taken their toll on both morale within the force and public confidence. We must not have a situation where sensible proposals from the Garda oversight agency are not implemented or resourced.”